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Poll: Over 1 in 3 Americans now believe violence against the government can be justified

Out of 1,101 respondents, 34 percent believe that it is justified for citizens to take violent action against the government.

A banner left by a supporter of President Donald Trump stands in front of the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington. AP PHOTO/MANUEL BALCE CENETA

Just over one-third of Americans now believe violent action towards the government is justified under certain circumstances, an all-time high, according to a new Washington Post-University of Maryland poll.

Out of 1,101 respondents, 34 percent believe that it is justified for citizens to take violent action against the government, with 62 percent responding it is never justified and a further 4 percent responding with no opinion.

Twenty-two percent of respondents said violence is justified in the event that the government violates or strips away a citizens’ rights and or oppresses the individuals. In addition, 15 Percent responded that violence is justified if the government is no longer democratic, transforms into a dictatorship, or takes over in a military coup.

According to the Washington Post, 41 percent of independent and 40 percent of Republican respondents said violence could be justified against the government, with 23 percent of Democrats concurring.

According to previous polling data included within this new poll, the amount of respondents who said violence can be justified against the government has increased 11 percent from a previous poll conducted in 2015 and a further 18 percent from an earlier survey conducted in 2011.

The poll, made between Dec. 17 and 19 of 2021, comes only a few days before the one-year anniversary of the deadly assault on the U.S Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, an event, the poll reveals, that 27 percent of respondents believe was equally peaceful and violent.

Forty-three percent of respondents said former President Donald Trump bears a great deal of responsibility for the attack, with 24 percent believing the former president is not responsible.

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When asked in comparison if the protests following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police, sparking a summer of widespread protest nationwide in 2020, respondents were split equally, with 43 percent believing the protests were mostly peaceful and 43 percent believing the protests were mostly violent.

Fifty-one percent of those responding believe that the legal punishment for individuals who broke into the U.S Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection has not been harsh enough, compared to 28 who believe the legal punishment has been fair, and 19 who believe it is too harsh.

As of Dec. 31, 725 individuals have been charged with crimes connected to the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to the Washington Post.

According to another recent poll conducted by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, public opinion on the legitimacy of President Joe Biden is drastically different among Democrats and Republicans, with 46 percent of Republicans seeing the Biden victory in 2020 as illegitimate and 83 percent of Democrats believing the president’s electoral victory legitimate, the poll shows.

When posed the same question, the Post-UMD poll shows that 69 percent of respondents believe Biden’s election is legitimate compared to 29 percent who do not believe the election legitimate.

In contrast, 57 percent of respondents believe the election of Trump was not legitimate, compared with 42 percent who believe the election was legitimate.

One-third of those responding also believe there is solid evidence of widespread voter fraud during the 2020 election.

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John is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can contact him at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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